Brighton & Hove Albion defender Leon Balogun couldn’t hide his delight after scoring in dramatic circumstances during Tuesday evening’s 3-1 win over Crystal Palace.
The central defender came off the bench on the half hour mark to fire home in spectacular fashion to double Albion’s advantage on the night with his first touch, and he admitted that the whirlwind evening was a lot to take in.
"For me it's another dream in this football calendar year that I wanted to come true.
“I made my dream come true of playing in a World Cup and I made a big dream come true in moving to the Premier League.
“Now scoring in the Premier League with my first touch in this game, it's kind of unreal. I'm just happy. When I saw the ball bouncing I knew it was going to be tough, so I just hit it and luckily I hit it right. It was a great feeling."
The Nigerian international entered the action following the dismissal of Shane Duffy, coming on in place of Pascal Gross as Chris Hughton’s side played the final hour of the contest on the south coast with ten men, and Balogun reflected on his performance.
"We were one man down, but I think I'm experienced enough to be able to come on and help the team in that situation.
"Even though I might not be 100% satisfied, I think I still did well and my goal was probably the most important thing about my performance.
"I personally feel that I never really got into the game - viewers might think different but you always have a personal level that you want to reach, and I don't know that I really got it.
“I'm a bit sad about the penalty, I think it's a bit of a dark spot on the overall performance of the team. But I'm lucky, I scored a very important goal."
The partnership of Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy in the centre of defence has been a recognisable mainstay of the Seagulls’ side so far this term, but Balogun insisted he’s ready to step into the side whenever needed.
"My job is to be ready, there is no question about it, and the club knows what I can do.
“I feel a certain trust even when I'm not starting which makes it easy for me to fit in to what Lewis Dunk or Shane Duffy have been doing.
"It's never easy and you always want to play, but at the same time you have to be professional about it. You have to be ready for situations and moments and I think I was ready every time I came on - that is important.
"Every point is important, but the result speaks for itself, it's massive.
“If you look back to the game against Leicester where we've drawn when there was more we could have got from the game, and the match against Cardiff, tonight the result is huge.”